Tang the Hero Newfoundland

12 Jul

Tang, a Newfoundland dog, saved 92 people from a sinking ship in a horrible storm. During a snowstorm in December 1919, a ship called the Ethie crashed into rocks off the shore of Newfoundland, Canada. Ninety-three people were trapped on the ship as the ocean pounded it into the rocks. The crew tried to throw one of the ship’s ropes to people on the beach, but they missed. Then one of the sailors took the rope and jumped into the ocean. He tried to swim to the beach with the rope, but he was carried out to sea and never seen again. Then the ship’s captain saw Tang, a Newfoundland who lived aboard the Ethie. The captain knew Tang was their last hope. He gave the rope to Tang. With the rope in his teeth, the dog jumped into the sea and swam for land. In the huge waves and strong winds, it must have been hard for Tang to swim—the undertow tried to drag him out to sea and the water rushed into his eyes and ears. But he swam on until he reached the shore. People on the beach ran into the water to pull Tang onto dry land. They took the rope from his mouth and tied it to something strong. The rope was used to bring the people on the sinking ship to land. All 92 people on the Ethie were saved. History books don’t say what Tang did once he’d made it to land, but it isn’t hard to imagine the excited dog looking for his human companion, greeting every person that came from the ship. Lloyd’s of London, the famous insurance company, gave Tang a medal for bravery, which he wore for the rest of his life.

Adapted from Dog Heroes, by Tim Jones. Seattle: Epicenter Press, 1995.

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